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Lotus 25: Wikis


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Lotus 25
Lotus 25 b.jpg
Category Formula One
Constructor Team Lotus
Designer(s) Colin Chapman
Technical specifications
Chassis Aluminium monocoque
Suspension (front) Double wishbone, with inboard coilover spring/damper units.
Suspension (rear) Lower wishbone, top link and radius rod suspension, with outboard coilover spring/damper units.
Engine Coventry Climax FWMV, or
BRM P56, 1498 cc, 90° V8. Naturally aspirated, mid-mounted.
Transmission ZF 5DS10 5-speed manual.
Tyres Dunlop
Competition history
Notable entrants Team Lotus
Reg Parnell Racing
Notable drivers United Kingdom Jim Clark
United Kingdom Trevor Taylor
United Kingdom Mike Spence
New Zealand Chris Amon
United Kingdom Mike Hailwood
United Kingdom Richard Attwood
Debut 1962 Dutch Grand Prix
Races Wins Poles Fastest laps
49 14 14 18
Constructors' Championships 2 (1963, 1965)
Drivers' Championships 2 (1963, 1965)
n.b. Unless otherwise stated, all data refer to
Formula One World Championship Grands Prix only.

The Lotus 25 was a racing car designed by Colin Chapman for the 1962 Formula One season. It was a revolutionary design, the first fully stressed monocoque chassis to appear in F1. An early brainchild of Chapman's fertile mind, the original sketches for the car were made on napkins while Chapman discussed his idea while dining out with Lotus chassis designer Mike Costin.

Jim Clark's Championship-winning Lotus 25, in the Donington Grand Prix Collection.

The monocoque made the car more rigid and structurally stronger than typical F1 cars of the period. The 25 was three times stiffer than the interim 21, while the chassis weighed only half as much.[1] As a result, the car was extremely low and narrow (frontal area only 8.0 ft², 0.74m² compared to the normal 9.5 ft², 0.88 m²[2]). To assist this, the driver reclined sharply behind the wheel (an idea seen in the 18, and pioneered over a decade previously by Gustav Baumm at NSU[2][3]), leading to the nickname 'The Bathtub', while front suspension pieces were moved inboard (as in the 1948 Maserati).[4] The 25 was powered by a 1498cc Coventry Climax FWMV V8, although Reg Parnell Racing in 1964 fitted BRM P56s of similar specification to their second-hand 25s. Such was 25's effect on motor racing, even today's modern F1 cars follow its basic principles.

Some Privateers who had been buying Lotus chassis were disgruntled by the fact Chapman refused to provide them 25s. These teams, including Rob Walker Racing, were given Lotus 24s, while the works team had exclusive use of the 25 for Jim Clark and Trevor Taylor. When it first appeared at the Dutch Grand Prix, the futuristic 25 was inspected by John Cooper, who asked Chapman where he had put the chassis in the car.

The car gave Jim Clark his first Grand Prix victory at Spa that year. He followed by taking another win in Britain, and again in the USA, which put him in contention for the title, but at the final race, South Africa while leading, a much publicised engine seizure cost him the title to Graham Hill.

Clark gained his revenge the following year, taking his first world championship in the 25, by winning 7 races, Belgium, France, Holland, Britain, Italy, South Africa, and Mexico. Lotus also won its first constructors' championship. The 25 was used during the 1964 season, winning a further three races in Clark's hands. At the final race in Mexico, just as in 1962, the Climax engine developed an oil leak and with literally a lap to run Clark coasted to a halt in sight of world championship victory, this time conceding to John Surtees.

Clark went on to take the car's final win at the 1965 French Grand Prix before it was replaced by the Lotus 33. The Lotus 25 won 13 races, set 17 pole positions and 13 fastest laps.[5].

In 2008/9 Lotus launched a special edition of the Elise supercharged model in the original Lotus 25 racing colours. This had track standard sports suspension and traction control. A total of 25 of these Lotus Jim Clark Type 25 cars were produced for the RHD market.


  1. ^ Setright, L.J.K. "Lotus: The Golden Mean", in Northey, Tom, ed. The World of Automobiles (London: Orbis, 1974), Volume 11, p.1230.
  2. ^ a b Setright, p.1230.
  3. ^ Wikipedia, Lotus 18.
  4. ^ "Chapman was not concerned to be original, merely to be thorough." Setright, p.1230.
  5. ^ F1 Facts & Trivia. pp.113 - John White 2007


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